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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a peacock cichlid with red gills. He isn't eating and does a strange gulping motion periodically. The tank was fully cycled before the 9 juvenile cichlids were added in early December. No new fish or plants have been introduced. The only change I made prior to his symptoms was rinsing 1 filter (I have 2 canisters on this tank), removing the carbon that came with it, and adding crushed coral to the filter. When I checked the water after his gills turned red, the ammonia was at 0.25. I did a 25% water change and treated with prime. Ph is up to 8 from 7.5 before (b/c the coral). Everything else measured the same as usual. 0 nitrates and 0 nitrites. Ammonia is down to 0 now. It has been 36 hrs since the water change, there doesn't seem to be any improvement in my fish. The other 8 fish show no signs of trouble whatsoever. Thoughts on what could be wrong and what I should do?
 

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Looks like ammonia poisoning to me; but I am no expert. I would be concerned about the presence of ammonia and no nitrate; a cycled tank should always have some nitrate unless you are using chemical media to remove it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You're right. The Nitrates aren't 0, they were at 10, so normal. My mistake. I was thinking ammonia poisoning too. I just find it odd that only 1 fish was affected. I've reduced food, thinking overfeeding might have been the cause the ammonia.
 

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A healthy fish has bright red gills. What you're seeing is translucent gill covers. I don't know if that's normal for your fish but in some species it can be. Some species are bred to have this. They're usually called 'blushing', as in Blushing Angels, for example. It is certainly not a sign of ammonia poisoning. Nitrite poisoning can turn gills from a healthy bright red to brown, since it impedes oxygen uptake.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the reply. The gills did not look like that before, but they are juveniles and their colors are beginning to change so that is a possibility, but he isn't eating at all. Usually he's the first to the top for food.
 

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It is not a good sign when a fish isn't eating. Your fish should should be acting like they are starving when you go to feed them.

Any chance you have another tank you can isolate the fish in to see if it gets better and takes food?
 

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It is possible that it is holding, although you said the other fish are juveniles, so I don't know if that matters. I honestly don't have experience with that so will defer to those who have.

For future reference, no, a 1 gallon is not sufficient. I have a 20 gallon, which worked out ok for me when I needed it but would consider that a bare minimum. I personaly don't have the space for anything larger.
 
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